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New Council Calls for Unity and Communication
By Jorge Casuso
December 12, 2018 -- Following the lead of its newest member, Santa Monica's newly seated City Council ushered in what members said would be an era of unity and communication.
In his first public remarks after being sworn in, rookie Councilmember Greg Morena said communication was the first challenge facing the City.
"We all have challenges in front of us every day in how we communicate with people," said Morena, whose family and neighbors from Sunset Park were in the audience.
"I think that in doing so we find ourselves pitted against one another and often in different groups, and I truly hope that we can change that," Morena said.
"Let tonight be my first declaration that communication is going to be my first goal in trying to heal some of the disparity that we have and the angst in the community."
A promising sign of unity, said Council member Kevin McKeown, was that the three winners in the November 6 election finished among the top three vote getters in every precinct in the City.
"Tonight we adopted a canvass of the vote," McKeown said. "In this election, all three candidates who won won in every single precinct in the city. Let that sink in.
"As much as we think we have differences in different parts of town," he said, "I trully believe we can lead as a united Council."
McKeown was likely alluding to a voting rights lawsuit seeking the creation of council districts which the Ciy plans to appeal.
To enhance relations on the dais, Councilmember Sue Himmelrich suggested the Council forgo the longstanding tradition of assigned seating and adopt scrambled seating at its meetings.
"I think that some of the barriers that we have come from our desires to isolate us from what we perceive could be unpleasant interactions, and I think that we have to put that aside," she said.
Himmelrich was glad to learn that adopting scrambled seating was one of the first items on the new Council's agenda.
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